May 3, 2016

YES, VIRGINIA, BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN REALLY IS A BOX OFFICE BOMB... SANTA DOESN'T EXIST, EITHER



Okay, let us look at this without any passion (I know, that is hard to do because in today's Intertube Retardedness, emotion is everything, and it is even “better” when it can be condensed into 140 characters)

So, with that in mind, we shall look at the numbers.

First, costs.

We go with the lower end of the production cost here, which is according to the Hollywood Reporter's latest story

$ 225 million

This does not account for marketing.

Forbes puts the marketing costs at $ 165 million

This might be an accurate number, but for this purpose we shall peg it down a notch (because they always inflate numbers, for both grosses and costs), so shall work with this number

$ 125 million

This brings the TOTAL COSTS of Batman v Superman to

$ 350 million

(fans always tend to forget, yes, marketing costs money, a lot of it, it makes every big tentpole a huge risk as well as potentially very rewarding.

Now… here is where it gets a little bit complicated.

Because not all movie gross dollars are equal.

If you run the numbers for most big blockbusters, what you ideally will want is a 50-50 split between domestic (US) and intl. box office, for a simple reason. The more it is skewered towards intl, the deeper you are in shit as a studio.

Why?

Because the percentage of the gross varies very fucking wildly from territory to territory. In China, e.g., you net only 25 cents per dollar earned at the box office, whereas e.g. in Japan you net about 83 cents. What most industry watchers go with, it is a number of 33% from all intl. territories combined on average (not mathematically the best way to go, but workable)

Meanwhile, the US has an average of 50 cents per dollar that you get to keep, and depending on your power and control, you might even get 60 to 70% over the opening weekend (I couldn't find, though, if Warner had a deal like that for Batman v Superman, so we shall go with the 50% number, okay?)

The movie grossed 37.7% of its overall gross of $ 863 million in the USA.

That means at 325.1 million gross a profit of

$ 162.5 million

Let us keep that number in mind.

Now, the rest is – according to the Hollywood Reporter – divided up as follows



Can anybody in class point out the problem?

Anybody?

Bueller?

The second largest chunk of gross comes from…

… China.

Remember, boys and girls? That is the country where you get just 25 cents on the dollar.

So, the $ 95 million they grossed there comes out to just

$ 23,75 million

We are now at a profit of

$ 186,25 million

… with China and US combined.

The other $ 442,9 million we shall divide up by the average used in industry watcher's overall analysis, so at 33%, which makes that an additional $ 147,6 million. Put that together, and we arrive at a current net income for Warner of

$ 333,88 million

Now, which one of you in class remembers the overall costs of the movie?

Hm?

Bueller?

Yes, $ 350 million (at the low end of what was given to the media, and with me subtracting a substantial 40 million of the marketing costs as given by the Forbes article)
Now, we do a little math.

The movie is still in the red by about

$ 16 million

Mind you, this is only box office, not including the long tail of Blu Ray, TV, ancillaries etc, so the movie will get a nice profit in the end, even with Blu Ray movie sales being essentially flat and coming in at a higher cost than old DVDs once were.

However, we can conclude that for the moment at least, Batman V Superman is a bomb. 

Sorry.

This has no bearing on whether it was a good movie or not (if you look at Transformers, movies I loathe with a passion, they turned quite a good profit despite losing ground in the USA as well)

The notion if it is a good movie and widely accepted, that will only bear out in potential sequels. Considering that even a widely-liked movie like Avengers faltered in its second outing, it is likely – but not a given – that a sequel might falter badly. However, this is also counter-acted by the Wonder Woman movie and the fact that the sequel will be called Justice League, which like Batman V Superman, has a built-in hype machine.

There we go.
No passion.
Just numbers.

February 15, 2016

SO, I AM STILL ALIVE (KINDA SORTA)

Now, I have not written anything here, because at the time of my last post, now nearly three years ago, I started to get really, really ill. And the first thing that went was my mind.

Then my body. I could still function on Twitter (which I have since then abandoned, except for a closed account that I only use to stay in touch with a few people, I do have a public account not associated with my name, and I use it to make fun of the news), but I was unable to formulate a clear thought that couldn't be squeezed into a 140 character headline.

In 2015 I was almost dead. My kidneys had begun to shut down due to an untreated diabetes.

So, yes, I was literally pissing my life away. And how is that for an image to haunt your days, eh?

The treatment almost came too late. In the past year I have been fighting to stay alive almost every day, and there were days when I thought I would lose this fight.

But like I once said on this very blog, if I died... then the wrong people would have won.

And I cannot have that.

I am rather stubborn that way.

So, no, I have not been able to write a single word for a long time, and this now is just a little exercise in typing, although in the past few days I have started to write again, something that is more than

Shit
Shit
Shit
Shit

on an empty page (so to speak, in today's digital world), and no, I am not even making this up. See, diabetes is a shit illness, kids, it isn't that nice, fluffy thing that people talk about while they are scarfing down the same fast food bullshit that has gotten them in this situation in the first place.

Diabetes, it attacks your body first. In my case, I started to no longer be able to metabolize carbs. In other words, every damn thing I ate turned into a layer of fat, and I had no idea why I started to gain weight in places where I had never had weight.

Then it started to affect my mind.

It went... out to lunch, so to speak.

Eat at Joe's it wasn't.

I couldn't hold a thought anymore. First, I lost the plot. Then, I lost the ability to form complex sentence structures (some would argue, maybe rightfully so, that I had never had such ability in the first place, and to those who would argue that way, uh, shut the fuck up), until each moment was frozen in time. Each breath was work. I could no longer walk. I could barely sit up straight, even when the treatment began, I got worse.

And whatever strength I had left, whatever of my mind had not gone away, I used to research every possibility to stay alive. So, yeah, by now I know a fucking lot more about diabetes and metabolism than my doctor does. This is not me boasting. This is me looking back at the past year and thinking, how the fuck did I get through this?

I nearly died twice.

I collapsed as my body gave out while I was whipping it back into shape, changed my entire diet, lost all the weight, became a fucking Master Chef, all to stay alive.

Because, see... I know there is nothing but this life.

I know, because I was dying.

And want to know what's there, when your brain fires its neurons in a desperate battle to stay alive?

Nothing.

There is nothing.

No heaven. No hell.

Just darkness.

And your heart screams. And you reach out to the nearest thing, the nearest person, you claw into them, the way I would see my father claw at me at the end of the past year when cancer took him, I saw it in his eyes and I knew what I saw, because I had seen it myself, and the only thing I could do was to hold him, his head on my shoulder, tell him that I would be there until the final moment, even when the cancer had started to take his brain and he would no longer recognize me, only my mother, his wife of 51 years, the love of his life for 54.

And I fought.

I am still fighting.

Every day.

But I am alive. Kinda sorta.

I didn't beat the diabetes. I never will. But I managed to corner it, and it claws at me in frustration, it claws at my heart on the bad days, it growls that I will fall asleep one of those days, that I will become weak one day or another, that all it takes is something that has too much sugar, too many carbs in it, and it will take my heart and me down.

But I cornered it. In the past few months, while I was fighting for my life, I had been put on three different diabetes meds plus a daily insulin injection, my kidneys were almost gone, my liver as well, and the doctor gave me another two years at the most.

It has been a year since that diagnosis.

I am alive. Kinda sorta.

I have managed to get off all medication.

Yes, you read that right.

I am not healthy. I never will be.

But I am off all medication. My kidneys work. My liver works.

You see my blood work and didn't know me, you'd think I am healthy.

My blood sugar is that of a healthy man my age.

My blood sugar lies.

I am beating the shit out of my diabetes each day. I beat the shit out of it by using the discipline I learned while I was fighting at school, that I learned while I was in the army, I look at it and I whisper, "come on, motherfucker, come and get it, I fucking dare you."

I know the carb count of everything. I know how to pace meals. I know how to essentially starve my body in the right way that it had to jump start my pancreas again. That my levels became those of a healthy man.

All it took was to be ready to die.

When the darkness came for me.

And I looked at it and said, fuck you. Not now.

I will never be healthy again. And I will fight each day.

But I am alive.

Kinda sorta.

And I will write again.

Watch out.

I am still here.

March 26, 2013

HOLLYWOOD: WE LIKE TO FUCK (SHIT UP)!

Well, kids, now you done gone done it!

Hollywood is fed up with you. And says that it will no longer give you sex. You know, just like your girlfriend. No, wait. In theaters, that is. Well, on the big screen in theaters that is, so as with most things in life today, you have to bring your own. Sex, that is.

Which is kinda sorta rather traditional, really, considering that in those Wonder Years that Hollywood wants to return to there was no sex on the big screen, but a big fucking lot of sex in the theaters. And if you don't know what I'm talking about, ask your grandparents and watch them fucking get red faster than a cock in the middle of dawn.

See, the thing is, we don't like sex. Not really. Because sex doesn't sell any longer. Because sex is now a free commodity, and we all know, hell, free commodities can be found on the web.

And in your pants.

But the wholesome thing? The Disney bullshit they blow up in your ass to the tune of 400 million dollar budgets, which is incidentally worth more than 400,000 awesome Thai transsexual girlfriend experiences?

That sells units. That sells like hot cakes in hot pants.

And them in Hollywood are all about panting, not touching.

Oddly enough, like any fuck that's now called a "girlfriend experience".

It's explosive ejaculation into thin air.

And you're still trying to swallow it anyway.




August 19, 2012

THE TEENAGE GIRL SHELL GAME

There are 61 years between those two photos below, both belong to Conde Naste, maybe the biggest fashion magazine publisher in the world (it's too late for me to check the actual numbers, but I am fairly certain it still is, despite the loss of circulation everywhere) -

This one is from 1949



This one is from 2011


Now, I am not going to talk about my personal preference in dress style, anybody who's known me for longer than ten minutes will know that I prefer the glamor shots and the fashion of the 1940s, want I want you to do is to look at those two images for more than a minute.

The first one shows, whether you like it or not, a woman, she's dressed up, yes, but there is something about the way that she's photographed that tells you she's her own woman, regardless of the realities of the 1940s and 1950s America, where this wasn't the case at all, where women were only their own for as long as men would allow them to.

But again, not the point here. There's sexy in that image, but there's also a certain distance, she's the kind of woman who you'd like to pass on the street and maybe give her a glance, you wouldn't whistle, of course, she's too classy to give her a whistle, but you would look.

The second image from last year, what does that show you?

I don't know about you, kids, but what I see is something straight out of what's called the Uncanny Valley in CGI animation, airbrushed and photoshopped to the max, but also composed in such a way that it sexualizes and makes these two girls (I'm sorry, but I will not call them women), both with strange, elongated necklines not only Barbie dolls, both objects and sex objects, dressed in creepy layers of something that's somewhere between innocence, both of them sucking on those whistles, both of them look at each other as if they're about to get into some kind of lesbain love feast that only waits for you, the guy, to join in.

These two photos are not the only things, of course. We dress our little girls like 20-year-olds and our 20-year-olds or even 30-year-olds dress like teenage girls, blurring the line not only in fashion but also in our sexuality as to what a woman is and what she shouldn't be.

No, I am not saying that the way girls and women dress today is an open invitations to do whatever the hell you are thinking right now, looking at the second image. What I am saying, though, is that it gets increasingly more difficult to know who's what.

Think about it. The next time you see someone walking down the streets.

If it's a woman dressed as a teenage girl.

Or a teenage girl dressing as if she was a woman.

August 18, 2012

"GOOD MEN DON'T NEED RULES"


The Doctor
No. Colonel Manton, I want you to tell your men "run away." 

Colonel Manton
What? 

The Doctor 
Those words. "Run away." I want you to be famous for those exact words. I want people to call you Colonel Runaway. I want children laughing outside your door, 'cause they've found the house of Colonel Runaway. And when people come to you and ask if trying to get to me through the people I love!...is in any way a good idea, I want you to tell them your name. Look, I'm angry, that's new. I'm not really sure what's going to happen now. 

Madame Kovarian
The anger of a good man is not a problem. Good men have too many rules. 

The Doctor
Good men don't need rules. Today is not the day to find out why I have so many. 

August 17, 2012

I USED TO HAVE SO MUCH MERCY

About a month ago, I asked here in my last post here "why we should fight for you?"

I'm not asking anymore. I have found my answer. I won't fight.

Not for you. Not anymore.

Maybe, no, strike that, most likely never again.

I'm retiring from this fight. I'm hanging up my journalistic, my news commentator's guns. It wasn't an easy decision to make, because over the past months, I have increasingly seen my work on Twitter as my duty and my obligation, but not as anything that I liked to do. But I was brought up by my parents with that sense of duty, or as I once wrote "Somebody has to do something, but what the grownups never tell you is that it means, something had to be done, and they sure as hell better not be the one doing it".

In my personal and my professional life I have always been that somebody.

I never stood up for myself and always tried to stand up for others, because that's "what you do".

I took the hits and I took the feeling of emptiness and worked myself way past the point of pain, because that's "what you do".

I watched and shouted and pointed out the truth, because "that's what you do".

I did this as a conscious choice

I did it, because I grew up, always thinking, always being reminded of the fact that in the worst of times, in the chaos, in those days leading up to the chaos, somebody had to say something. I deluded myself, and yes, it was a delusion, that if only more people would have had the courage to speak up, to stand up, to shout out, Hitler wouldn't have happened.

I was wrong.

I see the future of this world, and it's its past.

When I began to no longer delude myself that standing up and speaking out would have a damn impact on whatever will happen to this world, I still did it, telling myself that at least someone had to do it, that somebody had to be recording the descent, so that nobody later could say "But we didn't know! Nobody ever said anything! How were we supposed to know?"

I used to have so much mercy.

It's a quote, and it's not the full quote, maybe one of the best quotes from Dr. Who.

The full one is "I am so old now. I used to have so much mercy. You get one warning. That was it."

I'm so old now. I used to have this mercy.

You get one warning. This is it.

I used to have so much compassion, so much understanding, so much tolerance towards you, the "people". You, the "good people". I used to have so much faith in you. So much hope for you. Thinking that if only you had the chance, if you only had the choice, you would rise above the hatred, the selfishness, the thinking of entitlement, that you would rise above complacency, above the limitations of your cultures, your religions, your upbringing, your class.

That you would become better than what you are.

Not to please a god. Not to please yourself.

But because being better, being compassionate, being merciful... is a conscious choice.

It has always been for me. For all of my life, despite the shit I went through, despite the hits I took, despite the fights I lost, I always made this conscious choice. To show mercy. To give a helping hand. To not care about what happens to me, as long as it would be helpful.

I used to have so much mercy.

Because it is all about that choice.

Now all I have is contempt. Because you are not better. You do not wish to be better. You dress up arrogance as advice, you dress up selfishness as kindness. When given the choice, you went willingly, are walking in lock step with those who promise you that you'll be better, and not in the right way, but in the way of being better off yourself.

You whine and moan about your rights, and your rights alone. You dress up in your faiths and your religion, your genders and your races, and you whine that you as a group should have it better, that others should look at you while you look down on others.

You are Muslims who whine that nobody respects you, that you deserve tolerance, that you deserve respect, that nobody better criticize you while you abuse and oppress women who are trying to stand up and have those same rights within your culture, within your faith, while you hunt down gay men and women and lock them up, if they are lucky, while you spit on them, hurt them, kill them, while you hate Jews and cheer every time one of them dies.

You are not worthy of mercy.

You are Christians who look away when your own church rapes children, who want to take away a woman's right to choose, who think that your faith and religion gives you the right to rape the planet, that you are the crown of creation, who are screaming for the blood of Muslims, who are shouting for war as long as you don't have to go, who support leaders that kill hundreds and thousands of innocents through drone strikes, who scream for the death penalty, who only ever do care about the rituals of your faith, who think that these rituals are reason enough to go to that magical place, where everything is fluffy, niggers won't bother you and it looks like a 1950s sitcom.

You are not worthy of mercy.

You are Jews who still delude yourself that you are the chosen ones, who rob land, who shoot children and women, who threaten with war, with nuclear force, even, as if these are the actions of a sane man, you are selfish, hurtful and arrogant when given the choice, who have forgotten what the real lesson of the past should have been, just as everyone else has forgotten, who walk in lockstep with your own racism, your own delusions of grandeur, dressed up as victimhood.

You are not worthy of mercy.

You are men who laugh about women behind their backs and in their faces, who think that they are weaker, that they deserve a place in the kitchen, who think that there is no equality of rights, who would never say it out loud, but who show it every day by not allowing women to work, not allowing them to rise in the workplace, who don't give them the same money as you give yourself, who shut them out, who willingly confuse equal rights and equal opportunities with being equal physically.

You are not worthy of mercy.

You are women who deny other women the right to choose what path they wish to take, who think your path is the only one, who dress up your selfishness and your loathing of men as feminism, who whine and moan only when it concerns yourself and who would never stand up for a man's rights, because you think they don't deserve any of these rights, delude yourself that men already have everything, now it's your time, now now and me me me, you show no compassion to a man in need of your help, you manipulate behind their backs and tell yourself that's all right, because "they have done this to my gender for centuries, it's payback time".

You are not worthy of mercy.

You are races who look down on each other, who only whine if it's you who is oppressed, who only care if it's your skin color, your culture that is looked down upon while doing the same elsewhere, where you are in control, who show me that the color of skin is worthless, that blacks can oppress whites with the same ease as it was the other way around, who show this to me in places like Uganda, Kenia, South Africa, who prove to me every day that you are not better, you are the same, and hey, equality, right? Who now do the same as it was done to them.

You are not worthy of mercy.

You are nations who still think you are better because of your history, because of great deeds, inventions and thoughts, none of which were your own, that were the thoughts, deeds and inventions of a few who had to fight you all the way before you saw their value... to only yourself, who have no compassion, only loathing to weaker nations, who have only loathing for the people in stronger nations, all of you deluding yourself you are the victims, who want it all for yourself, for whatever reason you come up with today.

You are not worthy of mercy.

You are the rich who are greedy, who think that it matters which cunt you crawled out of, who believe you are entitled to a better education, to a better life, to more and more and more, who delude yourself you are worth more, more worthy despite the fact that you are only there due to the luck of the genetic lottery, who treat others like furniture, like a tool, who see people who work hard as a commodity, who are already one more logical step away from putting up labor camps, oh, wait... in places like China you already have, who exploit people to the point of illness and death, who spritz yourself with champagne during an evening that costs so much that hundreds of families could live, could not starve, could have a little something...

You are not worthy of mercy.

You are the poor who are complacent, who don't care, who loathe those who dissent, who speak up on your behalf, who sit in front of the television and watch reality television, who masturbate to the thought, the lie, the delusion that you could be one of the pretty people, who worship celebrities instead of ideas, who take pride in stupidity and more pride in your hatred of anybody who tries to think, to educate himself, who vote on race and who you would like to have a beer with, who don't know and don't care about how much power you have as long as you can see those who rule you, rape and fuck you tell you they share of morals of bigotry, your faith of hatred.

You are not worthy of mercy.

I used to have so much of it. Hope. Faith. Mercy.

But not anymore. Thank you for educating me.

There's a storm coming, kids.

This will be my one, my only, my final warning.

When that storm comes, don't count on me.

I have retired from this fight.

Because you have never even started to fight.

July 15, 2012

WHY SHOULD WE FIGHT FOR YOU?

I'm seriously asking myself that.

Every day I'm asking myself that question a little bit more often. Why should we fight for you? The few who stood up, especially over the past 15 months, the few who had the courage, the naivety, the insanity to stand up and ask, in that classic Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist fashion... for a little bit more.

Not for ourselves, but for everybody.

Can we have a little more?

Some didn't have to do much. I certainly didn't. All I did, all I could do, all I have maybe done is to try to formulate for those who have no voice, to build messages from facts and dressing them in a funny way so that you may laugh about them before realizing that the truth is bitter and hangs in the back of your throat.

But this isn't about me.

I have hung to an ever-thinning thread of an increasingly more abstract hope that somehow, somewhere we can and should be better, despite all evidence to the contrary. And you may point to the thousands on Twitter, may point to the tens of thousands demonstrating all over the world and tell me not to worry, that people are waking up, that people care, that this will get better somehow.

You are wrong.

For the thousands on Twitter, the tens of thousands demonstrating are a statistical glitch in the greater picture that shows gluttony, complacency and what I can only call the worst humanity has to offer, has always offered and will always do so, the tribal mentality.

I'm not even talking about religion, race or gender, all of which are equally offenders against what the spirit of humanity should be (and I am talking about every religion, every race and every gender), no, I am talking about something much more vicious and something that has created a bigger but more subtle divide that most cling to, especially in those "civilized Western countries".

It's the illusion of status.

It's the delusion of status.

It's the idea that those who ask, those who shout, those who uncover and discover, who expose and fight, even if it is merely with words... are worth less. Are to be ridiculed, are to be spat upon, are to be put down.

It is the idea that you are... better.

This isn't about me.

This is about someone else. This is why I am thinking today. And yesterday. And why I am breaking my internet vow to not look, to not care, if only for a few days. This is why I am asking myself that question I put in the title.

This is about a young woman who calls herself Korgasm on Twitter.

She is a brave young woman. She is an intelligent young woman.

And what is worth more, she just may have done some of the most outstanding journalistic work that nobody cared about since Spider Jerusalem exposed shit on Transmetropolitan, and that was in fiction, you know, not reality.

She was there when Occupy Wall Street started and well-paid twats like Laurie Penny hadn't shown up yet, when commentators and pundits still thought OWS was some kind of new product they had to pimp.

She was there when Occupy Wall Street got ugly, and she recorded it, without having been told to do so, without having been paid to do so. She did so because she was a journalist in the best sense of the word.

She did so because that is what a journalist does.

She did so because she saw what happened and couldn't look away.

She did so because she couldn't look away and wanted to show you.

And when OWS spread through the United States, she chose to be on the ground, on those very battlefields in Oakland and New Orleans that nobody gave a fuck about.

She gave you the images of arrests, of police brutality, of a secretive war that is right now being waged in the USA, pushed into the shadows by the billions of campaign advertising and McDonald's commercials that pretend this is all business as usual.

And it is.

A business.

And it's the usual.

She went to the places where it hurts. In more than one way. Selling her own personal belongings one by one to have enough money, to never have enough money, just to give you the chance to see the things that the mainstream media covers up, to give you an unfiltered view from the street. Every street. Everywhere, USA.

She did so, because she believes in the truth.

She did so, because she is more of a reporter than I ever was.

Me, I am no longer a journalist.

I'm an analyst.

I'm a writer.

I'm the guy who tells you stories.

And so I'll tell you this one, about a young woman who cared when 99.9% of you didn't. Who didn't follow a dream, neither American nor otherwise, but who followed the truth when it was not opportune to do so, when in fact the truth was something that you only wanted to see sandwiched between the more important news, you know, like when is that new Apple iShit coming out?

And after all she went through, she found herself stranded in Oakland, with not enough money to make it back home. And since she wasn't paid, since she wasn't hired, there was no phone call to an editor to be made, no corporate credit card that got Anderson Cooper in and out of Egypt first class to then look very concerned about the plight of demonstrators, very concerned about the plight of the poor before returning to his luxury suite at a hotel.

She was stranded, still is stranded as I write this.

And she asked. Which is always a hard thing to do.

She asked for help. Not much. Just enough to get her home.

Weary, bruised and fatigued from seeing things, she asked.

And this is one of the things she got as a reply.

I wish I could say that this doesn't happen.

I wish I could say that the majority of people are better than this.

But they aren't. As I said above, those thousands on Twitter, those tens of thousands demonstrating, they are a small, even shrinking minority. The majority of people is exactly this. Mean. Bitchy. Selfish. And laughing at the plight of others, as long it doesn't hit them.

And I'm asking myself, each day more often.

Why should we fight for you?

Why should we ask for a better future... for you?

Why should we?

I'm running out of lies that I can tell myself.

I'm running out of reasons I can pretend exist.

You should be afraid.

Of the day I have run out of them.

June 6, 2012

THE WRITE STUFF: PROMETHEUS, OR: "LOST" IN SPACE


See what I did there? With the headline?

I was being oh so very clever, right?

Because that's what this is going to be about, this entry, it's about being oh so very clever, and if there is one thing that describes the movie Prometheus, it's that. People (writers and director) trying to be oh so very clever... and failing miserably.

I admit it, I am a big Alien fan. And a fan of Aliens, not so much of Alien 3, and Alien 4 I consider to be a proto-concept of Serenity (Firefly) and with the exception of Sigourney Weaver's tough assery as a clone, it is mostly uneven and with an ending that is both ridiculous and shameful (and yes, before some idiot comes, I am perfectly aware that Joss Whedon wanted to set the third act on Earth, which would have been better).

Having said all that, I was in anticipation of Ridley Scott's latest (and no, I will not call him Sir Ridley, for I don't give a fuck who the Queen knights, okay?), not because it could have, might have been, will possibly be, oh gosh, the excitement, a prequel to Alien, but because it was Ridley Scott! Doing Science Fiction! The guy who directed Blade Runner and Alien, finally coming back to us...

... as opposed to Jim Cameron, who never really left us, and you can hate him for Avatar and Titanic, if you like, but Cameron also did Terminator and Aliens and, heck, even Abyss, which I loved (in its Director's Cut)...

... and what could possibly go wrong?

Everything. Everything went wrong with this movie.

Especially with Damon Lindelof writing the most expensive, bloated episode of Lost, ever, with this movie. Good one, Lindelof! And Jon Spaiths finally proves he can't write shit, that his Darkest Hour piece of crap released at the end of last year... that's the level he writes on, kids, that's the level that is enough in Hollywood to be told "you're awesome, here's a turd sandwich".

So, by now you'll all know the plot. Big 1 trillion "science expedition" funded by eccentric Howard-Hughes-like Quadrillionaire (Guy Pierce in the most horrific ageing make-up) goes out to find the roots of our existence, which just happens to be in outer space, blah blah, read Von Däniken for a deeper understanding of the semi-science bullshit that Scott and his writers force feed you from the very beginning of the movie.

If you really care, think of the plot as Aliens vs. Predators set in deep space, with the "Engineers" standing in as the Predators, and how pathetic is it that Ridley Scott takes the plot from a Paul Anderson movie? Even down to the "all cultures have the same things in them" speech roughly 20 minutes into this one.


See, the whole thing that they marketed it as was "It's not a prequel to Alien, no, really, it isn't, it just takes place in the same universe", which is like saying that any German movie isn't really about Hitler, when we all know that the ones who make it out of Germany clearly are.

But here, it's "Do you remember that elephant dude in the ship at the beginning of Alien? We gonna tell you who or what he is". Boah! Awesome, I know, right?

Well, now that dude is called an "Engineer", because, get it, they engineered us, life on Earth, or maybe just mankind, the movie never really makes that fully clear, but it is apparent that he's a humanoid dude underneath all that Elephantman gear, just with a bald head and no eyebrows. Boah!

And that one of them killed himself (right at the beginning of the movie, spoiler!) to "seed life on Earth" through his DNA goo. Why?

Uh, wait for the sequel.

Oh, I'm sorry, that was a spoiler.

And then, 2,000 years ago, the same race decided, "you know what, let's kill mankind".

Why?

Uh, wait for the sequel.

Oh, I'm sorry. Another spoiler, that.

Anyway, here's the joke. A creationist, a darwinist and a robot walk into a spaceship...

The creationist says "Are you god?"

The darwinist says "You're some ugly motherfucker."

The robot says "Fascinating."

... and they pretty much all die, without rhyme or reason. Yes, that's the movie. A joke without a punchline, a joke without characters that are credible or even memorable.

Much has been made of Fassbender's portrayal of the android David, but to be perfectly honest, it's Data. Yes, a upper English class Data, but Data nonetheless, detached and polite and with some creepy that made me go "the butler did it! Yes, I know it! It's you, David!"

Charlize Theron is a character that is meaningless (except for that obvious Blade Runner reference, you'll know it when you see it... "father"). If you had cut every scene with here from the movie, I shit you not, none of the plot would have been altered. Always a bad thing for a character, especially in a movie, where every minute counts, where everybody and everything must have a reason for being included, you are talking 120 minutes here, kids, don't waste them.

Also, Theron does here the exact same thing that Weaver's Ripley did, only when Ripley did it in the first movie, you find yourself thinking "yeah, she is fucking right, don't you take fucking John Hurt back to the Nostromo, this is a bad fucking idea, this is a really bad fucking idea", while the same moment here is played to only show Theron's cruelty, a complete 180 from what a scene like that should be, and it's because there is nothing to Theron's character other than frozen blood and cruelty, so the scene itself becomes wasted.

Noomi Rapace's Shaw is a scientist only nominally, she's there as a stand in for a point of view, for the bullshit that will most likely please the American Religious Right, she's a creationist looking for god (tough shit, lady), and remember when Sigourney Weaver's Ripley went back for Jones the cat in Alien and we all groaned (and when she went back for Newt in Aliens, and we all went "fuck, hell, yes, don't you fucking fuck with Mum!")

Well, Rapace also retrieves something at the end of this movie, she doesn't have to go all ballistic for it, but while Fassbender's David has lost his head (there seems to be an inherent weakness for androids in the Alienverse, their heads all become quite detachable, see also: Ash, Bishop), Rapace comes back to... wait for it...

... get back her cross! Yes, that's fucking right!

The movie even ends out with Rapace's voice over stating "in the year of our lord", I mean, thanks, I really wanted to get hit over the head with that (of course, since we are being oh so very clever, we can interpret that the reason the "Engineers" want to kill us... hm, 2,000 years ago, oh gosh, is it because Jesus came around?), that bullshit religious moralizing in deep space.

But even that, that religious crap, isn't an answer in the movie.

I'm not going to go too much into the actual "murder monster massacres" that happen here, some of it is grisly, some of it is creepy (much has been made of Rapace's surgery, I actually thought, meh), because they are murders by the numbers, and most of them happen because the characters in this movie behave without any intelligence, so they all deserve to die.

I wanted to like this movie, I really did, and some may say that I'm just bitter, because this isn't really an Alien movie, to which I say, bullshit. It's trying to tell it isn't a movie about the Alien, while everything in the plot is a rehash of Alien and Aliens, just without the actual damn thing showing up until a very silly 30 seconds at the very end...

I'm disappointed, because this movie has no character to root for, no plot to be dazzled or even surprised by, because this movie has no beginning, middle or an end, it just moves along to a sputtering halt that has Rapace and Fassbender be the only survivors, about to set sail on an Engineer ship to the Engineer homeworld, without supplies, without oxygen, without tools, because Rapace wants to...

... wait for it...

... she wants to know who created our creators!

Dun DUN Dun!

And the search for "God" continues... and I want to warn everyone that this is it. That's how far the movie goes. There are no answers here, just goo and glib bullshit, don't want to offend anyone, do we, especially not in America, gosh, no, not when this movie is done by Fox...

A lot of the things could have been fixed, quite easily, even.

For example, they find a living "Engineer", and David can even talk to him, explaining that "hey, it's us, your kids, surprise?" And what does that superior race dude do? He just squeals and starts thrashing shit around. Oh, my.

What if there had been a glimmer of recognition in his eyes?

What if there had been just a word coming from him, with David trying to translate him (since we actually don't get subtitles here), and David goes...

"What do you mean? I'm sorry, I don't quite understand... flawed?"

Just that single moment would have given some meaning to the whole plot underneath the movie, you can say they created us... and we were a mistake!

(That would seriously fuck up some people's heads, right?)

And even when the movie ends, witht he "Engineer" just being another "monster of the week", coming for Rapace as she is in the yacht part of the Prometheus, with the other alien "baby" being still locked in the med bay (having grown to a super squid), there is nothing there's just rage, grrrr grrr grrr... he comes for her in a way that is both ridiculous and cliche...

... and again, that scene could have been saved by what I wrote about here (we are flawed!) and then transport it to that sequence...

... with Rapace releasing that alien squid on him, and a simple line.

"Time to meet your creation, motherfucker."

But none of this happens. It's just sequences that are put on a string, without payoff.

And that is why Prometheus, in the end, is a vanity project for an aging, increasingly delusional director who is interested in visuals but has no longer an idea about telling a story.

If you want to be entertained, put that Alien disc into your Blu Ray or DVD player.

June 5, 2012

THE WRITE STUFF: KYLIE'S BIG BOOK OF MONSTERS [STILL IN PROGRESS]














Obviously, I am not going to post every chapter of Kylie's Big Book of Monsters: A Most Monstrous Monster's Morning by Mr. Thomas R. Hart & Mr. Edo Fuikschot...

(yes, it has a subtitle, or rather, that is the title of the first book in the series)

...but I wanted to give you out there a little more of a sneak peek of what the book will be like, mainly because I squeak like a little girl whenever Edo comes up with new things (and he does so often), like e.g. the way Googie tells his story, in such beautiful graphic simplicity that I went "aww" and "whee" at the same time.

I also wanted to share this particular chapter, because it introduces Kylie as she is now, properly dressed as the most monstrous little girl.

This book series is going to cuddle you.

Don't be afraid. It's just a cuddle.

May 10, 2012

THE WRITE STUFF: KYLIE'S BIG BOOK OF MONSTERS, OR: HOW TO CREATE A PROPER "GRAPHIC NOVEL" FOR CHILDREN













Here's the thing about "illustrated" novels.

They suck. They have sucked for a long time and will most likely continue to suck in the future. And the reason for this, I shit you not, is that there's no proper collaboration in most of them, especially in the US "publishing industry".

Unless, that is, you are writer and artist in one, but for most writers, well, we suck at drawing or illustrating. And if you have read this blog, you know that I actually believe there should be a union between artist and writer, maybe not quite on the level of gay marriage, but a union nonetheless.

In "professional" surroundings, such unions rarely, if ever happen. The industry is dominated by the most awful of people, the editor, backed by the even more awful of nun humans, the people in the marketing department.

At best, what you get most of the time, it's those "single page" illustrations, usually with a paragraph or two underneath it, taken out of the actual text... looking somewhat isolated and forlorn and without any proper ties to the flow of the story.

I hate that.

In the case of Kylie's Big Book of Monsters, I once had the "shot" at getting it in front of that apparent "publisher's circle" after I had submitted a pitch package to Scholastic USA. I had what I thought was a nice new editor named Adam, he liked it, he had some notes and ideas, which he fedex'ed me back, so I could implement them, if I chose to.

And I did. See, as opposed to the general myth that I'm an asshole, I don't mind working with others. If they have something of value to say. And then I even implement stuff. If they have something of value to say.

So I edited the first chapter of this book.

I did a plot outline to a point where he was happy, even if I wasn't, because it was the mandate to even get published that it should be one book, had to be one book, not a book series of short books, the way I had envisoned it.

But I did it. Because I was told, so many times, that this is what a professional does.

And I sent it off to young Adam at Scholastic.

And said, "listen, I'd like to have to actually the art be married to the text, to have it play off each other in as many instances as it can, because most of the times, it doesn't"

His reply was short and stated, "that's not your concern."

I went, uh, okay... and was quiet. And waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited.

I tried to reach young Adam twice more through email, but he had to small a dick to actually reply.

And yes, I mean it. And no, I would never work with or for Scholastic ever, for that reason.

If you cannot behave professionally (even in just saying "no"), you are on my black list.

Anyway, finally with the iPad and the Android Tablets and the Kindle Fire, I saw a chance to get Kylie's Big Book of Monsters done, and in the way I had originally intended it, as a "graphic novel", and yes, I know that term has been used to describe TPBs of comic books, but I think that something like the pages you see here are more what it is.

A marriage of art and text.

The only one who I trusted with this (all the way back to 2003, to be honest, for another project) was my old buddy and artist Edo Fuijkschot, and I said what I always say, "have fun with it".

Yes, I did very precise layouts for this book that said, "okay, this is what I think should be on this page", but... and here's the important thing, kids, when you can trust somebody... when the artwork came back to me, I re-wrote around it.

Want to know why?

Because text is not holy. No text ist. It always comes down to "how does this read?" and "can I cut text if and when the art does the heavy lifting?", which is something every writer should learn.

Edo's art does a lot of the heavy lifting.

It guides your eye. It draws you in. It makes you smile.

All I have to do? Hey, I just have to keep you turning the page.

That's how a graphic novel should be.

And I am very proud of what's there already.

And know what? It will only get better.

April 29, 2012

THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME, THE CAGE


One of the things I am working on (and have been working on, in different formats, for years) is The Cage. After my abysmal experiences in the "professional" industries like US publishing and Hollywood, I have come to the conclusion that pitching to idiots and even working for idiots is a waste of time, and in my case, I have wasted years on it, not to mention my health and quite possibly my sanity.

But I am working on The Cage, slowly and surely, for a release the way I intended, an ongoing series of limited series that will allow me to do bigger story arcs just as well as "novella" stand-alone episodes, the way old pulp serials worked, the way I had intended it to be on television.

It'll still take me a while, because as opposed to what I had envisioned with it being a TV show, in writing, I am all alone, so all the heavy lifting is on me.

THE WRITE STUFF: WHAT I AM DOING


Now, the reason I have been this quiet is that I have been working on things, published my German language books Asbury Park and the thriller Live through Amazon as a test run on how things work (and how to format eBooks in different ways).

I also am working very hard on getting Asbury Park out in its English version, and wouldn't you just know it, it is turning from a short novella in German to a fully fledged novel in English, which was not my intention, but sometimes, these things happen, and it's a good thing they do, although there is a part inside you that shouts, hey, weren't you supposed to be working on other things?

Yes, yes... I should and I am, but you cannot completely control your own brain, sometimes it just wanders into a place that wasn't there before, so for all of you in the rest of the world, Asbury Park: A Winter's Tale will be coming to you in the summer.

It's a fairy tale, a memoir, a lie, a tragedy and a story of hope unbroken.

And after that, there will be what is most likely my strangest mystery ever, The Church of Geppetto, about which I can't really tell you anything, other than perhaps that you will never look at another Barbie or Teddy Bear in the same way again.

I'll update this blog when I can, I may even give you a rant on world's politics here and then, if something annoys me too much, but for the most part, I will be writing (and if you do like to know what the author thinks, you can always check out me on Twitter.

February 11, 2012

THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE: HOW TO SPOT A LIAR, IN THEIR OWN WORDS, THE WALKING DEAD EDITION

Kids, nothing beats a lawyer at lying, and know what? You should beat them to death each time they lie, but we're going to do just that right now. we are going to beat a public statement by Robert Kirkman (translated by his lawyer) to death, since you don't even have to know either of those two men, be it Kirkman or Moore, to know who's lying here.

I told you before, kids, I'll tell you again.

Language. It betrays you every time.

So, here's the quote Kirkman through his lawyer gave to the Hollywood Reporter....
"The lawsuit is ridiculous, we each had legal representation seven years ago and now he is violating the same contract he initiated and approved and he wants to misrepresent the fees he was paid and continues to be paid for the work he was hired to do. Tony regularly receives payment for the work he did as penciler, inker and for gray tones on the first six issues of The Walking Dead comic series and he receives royalties for the TV show, to assert otherwise is simply incorrect."
As I did before, in numerous instances, in the department The Truth Shall Set You Free, I'm going to dissect the language here. Read carefully, boys and girls. There'll be a test later.
"We each had legal representation seven years ago"
The translation to this is quite simple, and it comes down to this, or you may be allowed for thinking, hey, the asshole and I both had lawyers, and mine was simply better than his was, that dumb fuck, hahahaha!

Incidentally, the "dumb fuck" quote here (of my making) serves to show that all people that are publicly praised (by their own clever PR) are the same, or does anybody else here remember Mark Zuckerberg? If not, watch The Social Network one more time.

But like I said, you may be allowed to think that, and it wouldn't be half wrong, but it's also not correct. See, here's the thing, kids. Just the fact that Kirkman and Moore had to have a contract in which Moore had to assign over his 50% of the copyright to Kirkman proves a simple thing, that he had 50% of the copyright. 

Remember this, boys and girls, this will become important in just a moment.
"and now he is violating the same contract he initiated and approved"
Okay, this is essentially "he said she said", because in response to Moore stating he was duped into signing the contract, Kirkman replies with, you wanted it this way (instead of him dabgering Moore, and as I stated in my last blog post, the "you have to sign it all over to me, or Hollywood won't deal, think of the money, man, we both gonna be rich, rich I say" is something that honest and honrable people will encounter on a daily basis by so-called "friends")
"and he wants to misrepresent the fees he was paid and continues to be paid
Now, this is basically, what the fuck, I'm paying stuff towards him, I paid stuff towards him, he should shut the fuck up. Know what is missing here? The exact nature of the claim, that Moore is not being paid what he is owed under the contract. And the fact that Moore has no access to the books to verify if he is being paid what he is owed under that contract. Tsk. Tsk. Mr. Kirkman must have sucked so much Hollywood cock or hung out with too many executives, because that is the exact nature of Hollywood accounting, and he has the audacity to use that move.

But that is not the important bit. The important bit, the lie, the big whopper of a lie is just forthcoming, did you catch it, boys and girls? This is the bit, if Mr. Moore has even the Bill Murray lawyer from Wild Things, that will allow him to tear Kirkman apart.
"for the work he was hired to do."
Now, I want you to go back up. And remember. There had to be a contract in which Moore assigned his share of the copyright to Kirkman. That much is in writing. Look it up on Deadline Hollywood or on Comics Beat, if you choose to do so. I did. 

Now, here's the thing, kids. I said it up there. The mere existence of this contract proves, yes, proves that there was no Work For Hire contract. Why is this important? Because, boys and girls, a Work For Hire contract has to be signed before commencing the work, or it ain't work for hire.

Now, Kirkman stating here that Moore was "hired", is not just a lie, it is legally wrong. Tsk. Tsk. Again, it appears that Mr. Kirkman has been running with Hollywood people for too long.

But let's go to the end, because, hell, to to have somebody lie this much in just a few sentences, that is rich. I mean, really rich. And again, no, I don't know either one of those people, and on a personal level, I don't give a shit about either of them (sorry).

What I do care about is the truth.
"Tony regularly receives payment for the work he did as penciler, inker and for gray tones on the first six issues of The Walking Dead comic series and he receives royalties for the TV show, to assert otherwise is simply incorrect."
See what he did here? He tried to be clever. The way only assholes try to be clever. Because he turns Moore's claim into I am not getting paid at all, which is of course not what Moore claims. He claims that he is not paid all that he is owed under those contracts, and he claims that Kirkman doesn't give him the information to verify.

And that, boys and girls, is all you need to know about Robert Kirkman.

Nothing else, nothing what he has ever said or will say will mean anything.

In just this one statement he has shown himself to be a liar and a fraud.

February 10, 2012

THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE: WHY I BELIEVE WALKING DEAD CO-CREATOR TONY MOORE AND NOT ROBERT KIRKMAN

So, here's the thing.

Comic book artist and co-creator of that hit comic book (and TV show and most likely merchandising empire or whatever) The Walking Dead, Tony Moore, is suing Robert Kirkman, that other co-creator and writer. And there was much uproar, and considering how creators are being treated by corporations (look at the Before Watchmen bullshit), we can now either say that

(a) Robert Kirkman has officially become a corporation, you know, like Todd McFarlane became a corporation and then proceeded to fuck over Neil Gaiman (gosh, can we see a pattern evolving here?)

or

(b) Creators do to other creators exactly what they don't want to happen to them, which makes most of those "creators" out there fucking hypocrites. You know, like Darwyn Cooke or Adam Hughes for Before Watchmen or... gosh, that list would fill the entire blog post.

But in the case of Tony Moore, there is something that caught my eye, primarily because I know exactly what he is talking about. It's this claim -
Moore claims he was told in 2005 by Kirkman that a big TV deal was on the table but "that Kirkman would not be able to complete the deal unless [Moore] assigned all of his interest in the Walking Dead and other works to Kirkman," according to the complaint. Thinking the deal would fall apart, Moore signed the contract, he says, allowing Kirkman to "swindle" him out of his 50 percent interest in the copyright and never intending to pay him his share of royalties.
It's this paragraph that makes me believe Tony Moore, since I have had this almost happen to me. When I wrote the screenplay SAFE, there came a point at which the "director" Matt Haley told me that there's an awesome producer that wanted to take it to, gosh, nobody other than Senor Steven Spielbergo, and if you are in that industry, that's (unfortunately) almost as being presented to the Don himself, Mr. Corleone, because if there is a guy in that shit toilet that is Hollywood that can green light anything, it's that guy. Think about that for a moment, vomit in your mouth... and move on.

Anyway, in order to get this brilliant opportunity, all I had to do was to sign over all of the copyright to the screenplay to Matt Haley. For no money. In exchange for a promise that I'll get paid. Sometime. Somehow.

Let me repeat that. I was being told in 2009 that I should give up any and all chance to even voice anything for something that I created. Because, you know, "this is a collaborative thing". Obviously, I wasn't allowed to talk to the unnamed producer, because "that would only lead to confusion".

But don't worry. Trust me!

I'm just like you, you know? We're in this together, I'd never cheat you out of anything.

Yeah, that was the moment I decided (unlike Mr. Moore) to demand all of the email correspondence between Mr. Haley and anybody he had been in contact with regarding SAFE. You see, here's the thing. If you got nothing to hide (and I live my life like that), you can do this. And kids, if somebody doesn't give you access to those correspondences, rest assured that there are sentences in it, entire paragraphs of lies that makes them look good, makes them look like the ones who are in control.

I knew he was a liar when instead of "sure, not a problem" came a "are you crazy?" as a reply.

Note to everybody. If in such a situation, you get a reply that essentially tells you that you are paranoid, walk away. No, strike that. Run away. Run away as fast as you can. Or you will wind up becoming Tony Moore.

Now, in that particular case, the one thing I find funny (not in the haha sense) is that the manager/agent company Mr. Kirkman has employed (and who "develop" a lot of "comic book properties") is none other than Circle of Confusion, which just happens also to be the company working closely with the scumbag of a publisher, Seven Seas... and who negotiated and pitched my books 10 Beautiful Assassins and It Takes A Wizard all around the scumbag ocean that is Hollywood.

As I wrote about it in My Howard Roark Moment, these scumbags did so without my consent or without actually caring that Seven Seas didn't own shit and that the entire concept and the characters and stories were copyrighted... by yours truly.

What I didn't write there is what I'm going to tell you now. I emailed them, yes, I wrote to David Alpert personally and simply stated (in delightful legalese) that I was shocked, shocked I say that such a "reputable company" would go around Hollywood and pitch stuff that didn't even belong to their client! 

I would have to assume - for their benefit - that they had been misinformed and/or mislead by their client Seven Seas, for if they had been informed of their client not even holding the copyright, my legal team would have to assume that their were not only part but taking the lead in fraudulent behavior. And it would be so dreadful for me to sue them from here to the hereafter, because not only would I win, I wouldn't sue them under the US law, no, I'd sue them here in Germany, and boy, would there be a whuppin'.

I also demanded - in very nice ways, I assure you - to hand over the contact details of those they had been negotiating with.

Now, in my case, Circle of Confusion scurried like cockroaches, because here's the thing, kids. As long as you - the actual creator - holds the copyrights, as long as you haven't signed it away, there ain't no Harvard scumbag lawyer who can touch you.

As you have read here before, I'm sick of these industries, and I am sick of the people who work in there. In my own case, the only person I still collaborate with is my better half, Edo Fuijkschot. You know what? Because I trust him. And he trusts me. We co-created both The Tribe and The Sky Boys, and whatever format these stories will take, there is one thing that will also be true (which is why I have no problem saying this out loud, and the Internet doesn't forget), we both own everything 50:50, and I wouldn't make a decision on either of those two things without him.

Would I collaborate with anybody else in this industry?

No. Not anymore.

It's why I write novels.